THE Malaysian government has come under fire for a contest asking young people to make anti-LGBTI videos.

A competition launched by the health ministry asks people aged 13 to 24 to create videos against “gender confusion” to “prevent” homosexuality and being trans, BBC News has reported.

The competition guidelines suggest gay people, trans people and tomboys as examples of people experiencing gender confusion. The government is offering a $1000 cash prize for the best video.

Responding to backlash from LGBTI activists, the government has claimed its aim is not to discriminate.

“This creative video competition is purely to tap knowledge and creativity of adolescents on sexual and reproductive health related matters and does not intend to create discrimination to any particular group,” said deputy director-general of health Lokman Hakim Sulaiman.

“The very fact that they lump [LGBTI] people under a category called ‘gender confusion’ shows that the authorities are very much confused themselves,” said activist Pang Khee Teik.

“I was shocked,” said trans activist Nisha Ayub.

“This is encouraging discrimination, hatred and even violence towards the minorities.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia, punishable by jail or corporal punishment.

Neighbouring Indonesia has recently been the subject of criticism for its anti-LGBTI laws, following the public caning of two gay men and the arrest of more than 100 men at a sauna.

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